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The intense emotions that arise during divorce can provoke people to behave in surprisingly self-destructive ways. What may seem like a good idea at the moment could hurt your legal case or even give your ex ammunition to use against you in court.

As hard as it may be to set your emotions aside, doing so is almost always in you interest considering the end of your marriage and the legal proceedings involved in that process. Thankfully, you can learn from the mistakes of those who have let their tempers run away with them and make better decisions than they did.

Displaying intense anger or a penchant for violence will never help your case

You may know yourself to be a rational, mostly calm person, but the courts only see what you present to them and what your ex alleges to them. If you have explosive outbursts in the courtroom or send your spouse numerous threatening messages that they submit as evidence, the courts may consider that behavior when splitting up child custody, for example.

Look at a recent case out of Iowa. A frustrated man representing himself filed a formal request with the courts to battle his ex-wife or her attorney in a trial by combat scenario involving Japanese swords. While he claims that he was answering the absurdities of his ex’s attorney with his own absurdities, his filing could impact child custody proceedings and other aspects of his ongoing divorce. This situation also highlights another very important mistake people make.

Divorcing without an attorney can leave you vulnerable

Having someone to advise you about the law is valuable during a divorce. The experience that a family law attorney brings to the table can help you avoid common mistakes and pitfalls that people make in a self-filed divorce. Although you can legally go through the divorce process without a lawyer, doing so could make you more likely to make avoidable mistakes or misrepresent yourself or your intentions in court.

Giving up or just agreeing to anything your ex requests

While you certainly don’t want things to become unnecessarily contentious, with each of you digging in your heels and fighting for every penny and every moment with the children, you don’t want to go to the other extreme either by letting your ex be the one to set all the terms for the divorce.

Collaboratively negotiating for terms that work for both of you can be a great way to resolve disputes. Simply acquiescing to each demand your ex makes is not the same thing. You could find yourself in a disadvantaged position if you don’t advocate for yourself and the terms you need for a stable future after the divorce.